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An Update

With the end of the second UK lockdown, I now have access to my normal premises. This is good news, as I can cast the items which ran out during the last month and I have access to my laser cutter again. Unfortunately, the landlord has indicated that the premises will close from 18/12/2020 to 04/01/2021 and has provided no details as to any plans should my area enter Tier 3 restrictions following the Christmas relaxations. As such, I can’t commit to moving my printers and stock back there until next year.

This means I am working out of three locations:

  • Home office: sculpting & FDM print-on-demand scenery etc.
  • Main premises: mouldmaking, casting, and laser-cutting.
  • Interim premises: Order packing, & resin printing.

As you may imagine, this is far from efficient. So, whilst we’re out of lockdown, I have to ask for your continued patience, especially as we are well into the festive shipping period.

All affected customers have been very understanding, and I really appreciate that.

The elephant in the industry is, of course, the unknown Brexit situation. There’s only so much a business can do to prepare when details are unknown, but I will be doing all I can to minimise disruption and increased cost to MCM customers.

Thanks to you all, enjoy your Christmas, and stay safe.

Ben.

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Lockdown 2: Revenge of the ???

Those of you in the UK will be very aware that the UK government have announced the implementation of another lockdown in England. For those of you who don’t know, this lockdown will last a month and has fewer restrictions than the first one. I was hopeful that my workshop premises would remain open but, following a meeting yesterday, the landlord has decided to close for the duration.

This puts me in an awkward position once more. I can do some sculpting work from home, but all the workshop activities – moulding, casting, order packing, laser cutting, decal printing, resin printing – either have to stop or I have to bring what I can home. Last time, I brought all the stock home, but no casting equipment. I also bought another resin printer to compensate for the lack of manufacturing equipment. This time is likely to work in a similar fashion, with the added difficulty of colder weather preventing use of the garage for resin printing.

The store will remain open, but expect delays in fulfilment.

I don’t generally keep track of stock levels for the items I cast – it requires an amount of work which isn’t rewarded, as I can normally simply cast anything which is out of stock. Bringing stock home means I can fulfil orders providing I have them items in-stock. If I don’t, I should be able to print them on-demand, but this is where delays will build up.

As before, print-on-demand items (3D Alien Worlds scenery, Bushido zones and accessories, movement trays) will continue to be fulfilled as normal.

Laser-cutting is almost always done on-demand, so will have to halt until I regain access to the workshop.

I really appreciate your patience during this, the weirdest of years.
Ben.

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Taking a Breath

It looks like I’ve finally caught up with orders, with no small amount of help from a friend. I’ve worked hard this week to also catch up with many of the tasks on my list for GCT Studios’ Bushido. As such, I feel this is a good time to take a break.

I’ve only taken a couple of weeks off in the 7 years over which I have been running MCM. Mostly, these have been when my wife has wanted to go on holiday or, unbelievably, our honeymoon. I have worked solidly, though often inefficiently, during the UK COVID-19 lockdown. I feel I’ve only managed in the last few weeks to adopt an effective working practice. You may recall that my father passed away in the first week of lockdown.

I’ve come close to being overwhelmed several times in the last few years, but right now I’m feeling very… compressed. It’s strange, because I’m also really optimistic about the future of the business and feeling like I have figured out a lot regarding my working practice. I need to stretch out, to take the pressure off for a short while, so I’m taking a week for myself. No holiday – I’m not going anywhere – just taking some time to play some video games, painting some miniatures, and tinker with some other personal projects.

During this time, the store will remain open, but orders will not be fulfilled until I return (likely on the 21st of July).

As a side note, myself and a friend run a podcast called Robot Dice Explosion where we discuss games in general, though there is a heavy focus on Bushido. I’m looking to do more with this project, including streaming some video games and tabletop games over on YouTube. There’s likely to be more of that over this week off.

Thanks for your support, Ben.

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Re-emergence

If you’re one of the many customers waiting patiently for your back-order, I have good news!

This week I regain access to the workshop and can begin the long task of fulfilment and restocking of out-of-stock items. I’m prioritising the fulfilment of back-orders, so the delays on new orders of affected items (as detailed in my previous post) remain.

These are still uncertain times and I don’t know for how long I will have access to the workshop. If government guidelines increase the restrictions once again, I may lose that access. Moving everything I have already brought home is a non-trivial task. I must also juggle the order fulfilment with the 3D-printing of masters for GCT’s Bushido (the MCM store is a part-time endeavour). With all this considered, I am still largely working from home with all the inefficiencies that introduces.

Please bear with me – this will be a long job!
Ben.

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Hunkering Down

First of all, thank you to everyone who has ordered since we went into isolation and then lockdown. It’s really helped to have some sales coming in. Despite fulfilling print-on-demand orders, I’ve been somewhat anxious about the delay in fulfilling the rest leading to a massive pile to catch up on! Fortunately, I was able to access my workshop this week and retrieve the bulk of my resin stock. This means many orders containing pauldrons, hands, wildlife, etc. have been packed.

Whilst resin products may be listed as in-stock, I am normally able to cast them when actual stock is depleted. This currently isn’t the case, so those order containing items which need to be cast are still on hold. I will email those customers as soon as I have an understanding of the situation.

I still can’t say when I may be able to restart the casting side of the business. Even if I can gain access to my workshop again in order to retrieve equipment and materials, the business has expanded somewhat since I moved out of the garage – and quite a few other things have moved in to take the space – so I’m not quite sure how to arrange things. As it stands the conservatory is already housing a couple of 3D printers, postage boxes, and crates of resin products!

I’ll try to get a stock-take done soon, so you can know whether the item you want exists or not. In the meantime, feel free to contact me and ask in advance of placing an order. Additionally, I’d like to clarify what is definitely available to order:

Anything with the ‘print-on-demand’ tag

Speaking of movement trays, there are a few new releases! These designs were made at the request of two customers. Need something custom? Just ask!

Stay safe and paint your minis!
Ben.